Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cause for Concern

In light of all the recent debate about anti-Semitism on college campuses, I found an article in the Dartmouth Free Press amazing. In the "Numbers that Count" section, 3 of the numbers were:

69.7 - Percent of expectant Palestinian women within one month of delivery that are anemic, a result of malnutrition. (UN World Health Organization)

35- Percent of breast cancer patients from the Gaza strip who survived as opposed to 70-75% in Israel (Amnesty International)

649- Number of Palestinain children under 17 years old killed by Israeli security forces from Sep. 28, 2000 to March 31, 2005. (Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group)

While I by no means feel that all of Israel's actions are defensible, and recognize that there are clear problems with the way many Palestinians are treated, the presentation of such statistics out of context, particularly the last one, is frightening to me because of the blatant anti-Israel sentiment it conveys and the latent anti-Semitism. It would have been just as easy to include an accompanying statistic about the number of Israeli children under the age of 17 killed by suicide bombers, and would have made as salient a point about the horrific human costs of the violence in the Middle East. Additionally, publishing information from the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group also implies a balance. I have to admit that I did a double take when I saw these numbers. While I completely support freedom of the press, the shades of ignorance and hatred in the selection of these numbers scare me. Maybe I am over-sensitive, but in this day and age, especially in light of contemporary events, it is hard not to be.


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